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Concert Reviews:
Tedeschi Trucks Band shines at Freedom Hill
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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STERLING HEIGHTS -- It didn't take long for something special to happen at the Tedeschi Trucks Band show on Tuesday night, June 17, at the Freedom Hill Amphitheatre.

In fact, Kofi Burbridge played only a few bars piano to open the show before Derek Trucks laced into his first slide guitar lead, a clarion call of what was to come during the next couple of hours before a small but exuberant crowd that hung on very musical twist and turn the 11-member ensemble took during its time on stage.

During the past five to seven years -- depending on when you consider the group to have started -- Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, his wife, have honed their band into a tight and dynamically explosive collective, one part jam band and one part soul revue that shines whether it's playing short(er) and to the point or stretching out on epic, instrumental showcases. On Tuesday the latter included expansive renditions of "The Storm" and "Bound For Glory," the latter spotlighting Burbridge and both giving Trucks plenty of room to craft his solos, while all of the ensembles layers "passed the ball," taking solo breaks during the stylized show-opening version of the Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby," "All That I Need" and "Misunderstood." Trucks and Burbridge also engaged in a bit of fiery toe-to-toe jamming during a rendition of Derek & the Dominos' "Keep On Growing."

The night's more melodic moments worked just as well, however, with Tedeschi's warmly rough-hewn voice bringing emotional heft to the rocking "Made Up Mind"

and the yearning "It's So Heavy" and "Midnight in Harlem." Harmony singers Mike Mattison (a Derek Trucks Band alumnus) and Mark Rivers, meanwhile, combined for a high-stepping romp through Little Milton's "More & More."

The Tedeschi Trucks Band had all the bases covered, in other words, resulting in nothing less than a night of superior music by passionate, engaged musicians. That's a rarer achievement than it should be, and with Trucks' departure from the Allman Brothers Band this year to concentrate more on Tedeschi Trucks, and family, will hopefully make it more commonplace.



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